Larson Hunt: On Becoming a Model

Model Larson Hunt wears Linen scarf by KVaughn Summer 2024
Larson Hunt. Photo: Tony Ward Copyright 2024

Text by Larson Hunt, Copyright 2024

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On Becoming a Model

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In my mind, I was tagging along with my dad for a photoshoot. Why? The sole reason was that he needed help carrying his equipment up over five flights of stairs. To think this would be the start of the string of events sparking my love for the worlds of art and fashion was all too fun to ponder. The shoot for my dad  took place at the James Oliver Gallery, in Philadelphia. I was doing my small part away from the cameras. That was until the director, K.Vaughn, wanted to shoot me for an up and coming collection of scarves. This started my relationship with K.Vaughn. He was already good friends with my dad, they embarked on the project of renovating  his atelier/ home. Once again, I tagged along. I got a unique window into the life of the creative mind of K.Vaughn. My respect and admiration for him and the art he surrounded himself with grew. 

It wasn’t too long until he called me in for another photoshoot, and another, and so on. It wasn’t just photoshoots that I helped with either. He requested me for his exclusive bistro parties, sudden pop up shops, and the occasional hang out. At this point, I considered him my fashion uncle. KV hit me up for a photoshoot at the Rittenhouse Grill, and told me he’s bringing in another photographer. It was Tony Ward. 

I could tell that Tony was more than just a photographer. He’s a man that has the collective creativity of thousands of minds. KV would go on to book two shoots at Tony’s  studio. It was during those shoots that I got to know Tony and hear his stories. Over the course of several conversations, I was able to understand some of his philosophies. Tony understands that life is a gift full of struggles, and triumphs. Furthermore he (Tony) teaches that over time life reveals that you need your struggles to be directed towards the triumphs you dream of. This is reflected in his confidence about his work. He knows that his triumphs are the works of art he produces, and the people he decides to invite into his life. With all of these wonderful lessons and experiences I’ve absorbed, my inspiration to continue this absurd string of good fortune has been further strengthened. I can tell it will lead me to places I’d never imagine, but I feel as though I already belong.

 

Milton White: Linen is HOT!!!


Text by Milton White, Copyright 2024

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Linen is HOT!!!

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Photographs and Video Clip by Ted Kawalerski, Copyright 2024

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The photographers, models, creative director and assistants gathered on the grounds at Tony Ward’s studio for what became a great collaboration of talent. 
 
Each of us being inspired to bring life to the product…Kvaughn Scarves.
 
***Love, Unabridged – Prose and Poetry by Zachary Starr.But where does inspiration come from? Some say that it is born from the depths of our souls, a wellspring of creativity that flows endlessly within us. Others believe it to be a gift from the universe, bestowed upon those who are open to receiving its divine wisdom.***
 
I have been a muse for Kvaughn Scarves for many years, always wanting more to show off Kevin’s gift of finding fabrics and patterns that turns heads not only at special events, but also everyday wear.
 
The Parisian scenes and settings in the TWS studio are provided by TW. The outdoor scenes are also exceptional, provided by the enclave and grounds at TWS.
 
Though we had planned to shoot until 2pm, we wrapped an hour earlier. We were on fire! The flow of energy throughout each setting kept us all on top of our game. 
 
Matt Sampson, aka the sneaker guy, brought colors that completed the look for each scene.
 
Larson Hunt, model extraordinaire, was playful on the tire swing, blow up pool and for a finale, he got hosed down in linen.
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KV (Kvaughn), always creative, wore his scarves with style and flare, as only he can.
 
I, myself, was simply there…natural.
 
The photographers, TW, Ted Kawalerski (who visited from New York), AlbFor and Isiah, and the assistants Brian Hunt and Tony Colagreco gave their all in making the magic happen.
 
Afterwards, we sat down around food, drinks, good music and conversation.
 
Sunday was a day to unwind, regroup and refresh our vision for the next shoot. KV, Brian Hunt and TW joined me at my cabana poolside for a dip in the pool. Cocktails, lunch, music and conversation (which lead to a little brainstorming) defeating our purpose for the time together, but we did return to relaxing with drinks. Then a final dip before saying farewell to until we meet again.
 
Looking forward to our next venture!
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poolside with Milton White and fashion designer KVaughn
Poolside: KVaughn and Milton White:  Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2024

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Milton White models KVaughn scave 100% linen 2024 summer collection
Milton White. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2024

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About The Author: 
Milton White is a fashion aficionado, collector and consultant.  He is currently creative assistant to KVaughn Studio and style editor at TWS. To access additional articles by Milton White, link here: https://tonyward.com/milton-white-the-supreme-diva/
 

Kitchie Ohh: There’s Always One

Portrait of glamour model Kitchie Ohh for Tony Ward Studio
Kitchie Ohh: Photo: Victor Devilbliss, Copyright 2024

Text by Kitchie Ohh, Copyright 2024

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There’s Always One

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I have worked damn hard to get where I am, professionally. Believe me when I say there is no one harder on me than me when it comes to judging the role I play, the work I produce, and its impact on the bigger picture. Despite what anyone says to the contrary about the quality of my work, I often focus on what went ‘wrong’ and kick myself for it.  There is always a level of self-doubt, the moments of confidently feeling I know exactly what I’m doing are amazing, but even when they arrive I tend to downplay the feeling. However, my current role – it’s been over a year, I should stop calling it “new”- is slowly changing this. I have a great boss. I have a great team. And most of my colleagues are amazing.

Most. But definitely not all. There’s always one. Everyone seems to know about them; their personality issues, their comments, lack of collaboration, expectation that their way is the right way, the ONLY way. And yet, no one does anything about it. Instead, there are miles of workarounds, modifications to processes that make them a tad more complicated but increasingly more likely to get past this person with their probably unnecessary, but historically asked for anyway, approval. It’s frustrating and creates problems where there should be none, and comes complete with thinly veiled insults hurled regularly. 

My first run in with this particular brick wall, occurred very early in my role with this organization. I was asked to create a communications strategy for the year. I presented it, complete with a content calendar, and a regular series of collaboration meetings to ensure my pant was aligned with, but did not compete with, anything other outreach across the company. I take this moment to point out that this task is not outside of my skill set. It actually is exactly what I have been doing for much of my career, very successfully. It is also very much on track for the focus of my university-issued academic degree.  So, there I found myself, in this known to be difficult person’s office at a table that was too small for our group of five- them, me, my boss, and two additional colleagues. When the plan was presented, all but this person were happy to have something in place to keep things on track and on brand. I felt extremely proud of what I had put together. And then it happened. This ONE person finally chimed in, asking who would be creating content, who would be responsible for that part, because there was money in the budget for them to add someone to their team to handle it as we had no one with that qualification on staff. I was shocked. I had just presented the plan, clearly stating that this was MY role, MY team would be leading the effort, with review and input from the people at this table. Before I could open my mouth, my boss calmly looked this person in the face and stated, “no additional staff is needed as this plan was created by the extremely qualified individual already on staff, and her team. She called this meeting and is sitting directly across from you.” To say that went over terribly is an understatement. Silence fell, the meeting ended, and by the time I walked back to my office, the remaining meetings in the series were declined by this person with no explanation and no offer to reschedule. It happened, the professional equivalent of packing up toys and going home because the kids weren’t playing by your rules.  I was a mixture of feeling angry and insulted, but also proud that I didn’t have to defend myself, my boss handled it – showing full support of me and my work.

As a result of this failed collaboration attempt, it was left to me to devise a new plan that involved this person without the need for meeting with them. A precedent had been set that their input and approval was required. If we attempted to proceed without it, a flag was raised at the last minute and we, literally, had to start over.  I tried. I was not having my work derailed ever again by one person’s ego. So, everything filtered through my boss, still does. An extended time frame was factored into the original plan I created that allows this person ample time to complete their portion of the project. Though they agreed to the revised plan, I can count on one hand the number of times they actually adhered to it since that day. It’s been a year of communications, sometimes several per week, gently, and then not-so-gently reminding this person to do what they agreed to do by specific deadlines. And a near year of my having to rework timelines when those specific deadlines come and go with no response. Peppered throughout this year were plenty of other insults and not so constructive criticism. 

I have a fairly thick skin and a wild stubborn streak when it comes to people like this. I will not react as everyone else up until this point has. I will not compromise my hard work and the good I know it will do, simply because it’s easier to just give up or give in to doing everything their way. As annoying as these exhibited behaviors are, I can deal with them while advocating for myself and the job I have been tasked with doing to get it done. However, this person also has the nasty habit of speaking down to people, in a way that can only be described as bullying because they only do it to people who take it, the ones who are visibly shaken after any conversation with this person. I have watched it happen, they are sought out to be used as a kind of punching bag. I refuse to stand for this behavior in or out of the workplace, and that goes double when it happens to people on my team. I keep a running documentation of incidents. I informed my entire team, not just those who report to me, that if this person reaches out for anything they are to be referred to me for assistance. Whatever they need falls under my role. Effective immediately. It was rough going for a while, but over time I learned and still am learning ways to navigate the mess that was made long before I signed on.

There has been progress, though. Some wins, some losses, definite compromise. Shockingly, on both sides! The only constant has been me, holding myself and this person accountable. If we have to work together, then we will do so in a way that isn’t entirely mine, or theirs, it’s ours;  a mutually agreed upon, respectful, path forward. As more people sign on and join in, we see more forward momentum. As we work together to prove that through true collaboration, we can accomplish so much more, the power this person has held for so long begins to wane. The control they slowly gained over people and projects that never should have involved them is being given back to those to whom it belonged. Of all the things I’m proud of since beginning this job, this is pretty high up on the list. And we still have a long way to go. 

If there’s always that one person who makes things hard for everyone else, shouldn’t there also be that one who steps up to them? I know which one I want to be, and the one I never will. 

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Portrait of glamour model Kitchie Ohh for Tony Ward Studio
Kitchie Ohh: Photo: Victor Devilbliss, Copyright 2024

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Kitchie Ohh is a full-time professional fundraiser who has worked with a number of health and human services nonprofits in the Philadelphia area over the last 20 years. She found her passion for modeling after a pinup-style photoshoot in 2013. Since then, she has worked with many talented photographers, stylists, hair and makeup artists in a variety of styles. She has been featured in- and on the covers of – multiple print and digital publications. Over the years, she has branched out from pinup studio modeling to serve as a figure model for live sketching, walked a runway, and was part of two campaigns for Philadelphia designer K. Vaughn.

In addition to her philanthropy-focused career, she has volunteered with art, historical, and community organizations, and even the events team of a local brewery for a while, pre-pandemic.

You’re just as likely to find her whipping up something deliciously plant-based in her kitchen or knitting a sweater as you are to find her on a photography set. Her motto is “be both.” The model and the homemaker, sultry and sweet, serious and silly. All the things, all at once. To access additional articles by Kitchie Ohh, link here: https://tonyward.com/kitchie-ohh-rebuilding-my-self-esteem/

Tracey Olkus: The Latest Vixen

 

Text by Tracey Olkus, Copyright 2024

Photography and Set Design: Tony Ward, Copyright 2024

Styling and Creative Direction: KVaughn

Lighting Assistant: Anthony Colagreco

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THE LATEST VIXEN

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I have had the honor of working with Tony Ward only a few times over the last couple decades-most recently with Ellen Tiberino for The Vixen Series. So when Tony asked if I would be a part of this project, I thought he meant behind the scenes doing hair and makeup.  I was shocked when I realized that he wanted to photograph ME.  I’m never in front of the camera. I don’t even take selfies.
 
I love creating Vixens and encouraging Vixens,  but I had never thought of myself as a Vixen. I think of a Vixen as a woman who breaks from tradition, supersedes expectations and takes control of her destiny. She exudes confidence and sexuality.  She IS fire!  Well, part of that is definitely me.  I have been an entrepreneur most of my life. I have never had the patience to wait around for things to happen.  I have been told that I’m outspoken. And I only know how to do things in my own weird ways. I’m a sexual being through and through but I have never considered myself to be sexy.  When I told Tony this, he assured me that I was in good hands. And THAT I believed. I stepped out of my comfort zone and let him take the lead.  And it was a wild ride!
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Portrait of hair stylist Tracey Olkus wearing black sheer dress on night out in Paris
Tracey Olkus. The Vixens Series. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2024

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

For almost two decades, Tracey Olkus  has been transforming faces and elevating styles from her private studio in Philadelphia. Specializing in everything from everyday glam to commercial shoots to TV and film. 

 
Tracey’s artistic interests extend beyond the chair. With a passion for costuming, she crafts bespoke headdress designs available through commissioned works.  
 
As the curator of The Performance Salon, Tracey provides a platform for emerging and established artists to showcase their talents in an intimate setting. From musicians, to thespians, writers to chefs, The Performance Salon has become a hub for artistic expression with performances that leave audiences mesmerized.
 
But Tracey’s interests go beyond her professional pursuits . A dedicated patron of the arts and the finer things in life, she enjoys hosting extravagant dinner parties and whimsical camping trips…often simultaneously.
 
When it is time to escape, Tracey can be found exploring the world, talking to strangers, and collecting stories from every corner of the globe. And along the way, she is most happy to have has amassed an eclectic collection of friends that share her passion for the extraordinary.

Kitchie Ohh: My Job is To Help

Kitchie Ohh photographed for Tony Ward's Vixen's series wearing KVaughn ALUMINUM WRAP DRESS
Kitchie Ohh. The Vixens Series. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2024

Text by Kitchie Ohh, Copyright 2024

Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2024

Styling by KVaughn for The Vixens Series

If you’ve had any number of jobs in your life, they probably weren’t all great. Maybe the job wasn’t satisfying, didn’t pay well, had terrible coworkers, or an even worse boss. It happens. More often than not, people take a job out of necessity. They work multiple jobs to make ends meet. They put up with a LOT of unnecessary stress and dysfunction just to afford to live. I know all of this all too well. 

I’ve been working in the nonprofit space for all but one year of my career. I’m mission driven. Working for a cause helps make all of the office drama, the headaches and stress worth it. Until even that can’t balance the scales. I firmly believe people don’t leave jobs, they leave situations and people. 

I began my previous job, as a food bank fundraiser, in the Autumn of 2019. It seemed so perfectly suited for me. I was really feeling like I found my place. I had just a few months in when the world shut down for the pandemic. As an essential service, we remained open, figuring out daily how we would operate amid ever-changing precautions. If that wasn’t stressful enough, we soon experienced a huge shift in leadership. Suddenly the amazing team we had built came crumbling down. New faces, new rules, resignations, terminations, a general sense of unease and mistrust. My perfect role was turning into a nightmare. I no longer had a designated space to work in the office, it was assigned to someone else, but I was still required to be there several days a week, finding whatever space was available. Soon, I was accused of not meeting the expectations of the job. Those expectations turned out to not even officially be related to my role with the organization. Yet, I was being reprimanded for failing to perform and told to start making them my responsibility if I wanted to remain on the payroll.  I began the job search that day. It wasn’t easy. 

In the midst of the job related stress, I had an emergency home repair that came with a giant price tag and also forced me out of my home with just a few hours notice. I had to pack myself up to live at the closest dog-friendly hotel for an as yet undetermined amount of time. Living and working from a standard room at the Red Roof Inn with a giant, nervous about everything dog was not a good time. It was even less of a good time being told unsympathetically, that regardless of what was happening, I still needed to be present at work. 

In a shocking case of the Universe can be a real bitch sometimes, in between all of that, I lost my aunt quite suddenly. I did get to tell her goodbye, but it wasn’t enough time and it certainly wasn’t fair.  As I sat with her, she rubbed my back and told me how proud she was of me for choosing the line of work I did. For making it my job to help people. It seemed a strange turn of phrase when she followed that up with, “you know what you have to do, you do, you can. Keep fighting. I love you.”  Shortly after she passed, I had a very vivid dream about her. I was also having a rougher than usual day at work despite it being a “from home” day, and was talking to my sister to vent my frustration. Mentioning my dream, I was met with an “OMG ME TOO!!”  We took a few minutes to laugh about it, recalling funny things about her and her way of being the unofficial boss of the family, while pondering what she was trying to say. I was feeling a little lighter so I dove back into work. 

As I took my lunch break, I was hopefully checking my email to see if any of the job applications I completed had gotten responses. Instead, I found a notification about a position I might be interested in. I clicked. I read. It sounded perfect. And coincidentally  the cause had a direct connection to my lovely, bossy, missed dearly aunt. The aunt I dreamed of, the one whose last words to me were cryptic then, but made total sense now. Shaking I relayed all of this to my sister. Who told me if I didn’t apply right fucking now, I was insane. 

Over the next few weeks, I had a series of emails, phone calls, and in-person interviews. Every single one felt right. It went so fast. I was terrified, but I accepted an offer and tendered my resignation on the same day. Two weeks and three days later, I was sitting in my own office. Not a shared workspace that I could use only if no one else was. My name was on the door, still is. 

I have grown so much in the last two-ish years touched on in all of the above, personally and professionally. I now know what that fighting and knowing what I had to do statement was all about. I have shown not only my new colleagues, but myself, what I’m capable of; that I DO actually know what I’m doing. I’ve fought for what is right and best practice to achieve the organizational goals. I’ve gained responsibility for many things, including the oversight of a whole team, and more coming. I’m co-leading a project that has been a long time coming and will be transformative.  And most importantly, I feel heard, respected and trusted. 

Just this week, my first annual review was filed. In my over two decades of work, I have gone through this process more times than I wanted to. This was the first time I was left speechless. I am honestly still processing some of the things that were said. Not because they were terrible, but because they were so positive and appreciative I didn’t know how to respond. Thanks? You’re welcome? SHUT UP!!! All of those and more ran through my head, and probably were said. It was more than the number crunch of ratings for ‘core values’ and accomplishments for the year. It was the way that someone – my boss – took the time to run through all of it but also relay to me that everything I have done since joining the team has pushed us in the right direction. That the way I am able to take every single thing that’s been thrown at me and somehow make it happen, is astounding. The way that if my name is brought up in a room where I am not present, only good things are said. The ability I have to remain calm while navigating outdated processes and simultaneously improving them is a superpower; and helped us exceed goals. 

Everything has lead up to this moment. I am who I am because of every day before this one, everyone I’ve encountered and every lesson learned. I don’t know how the future is going to play out, but I’ll keep fighting for what I know has to be done, because I can. I got this, thanks Aunt Bet.